Acura NSX – Everything You Need To Know | Up to Speed

Acura NSX – Everything You Need To Know | Up to Speed

– You guys have been begging for this one
so a billion of you better watch it.
(engine revving)
It was Japan’s first supercar.
It challenged the reign of Europeans
and set a new standard
for automobilia exotica.
I just made that up, trademark.
(engines revving and tires skidding)
Harsh rides, gone, poor
visibility, no thanks,
expensive maintenance, GTFO.
I’m not gonna put up with that crap
just ’cause I wanna drive
something shaped like wedge
with an engine behind my noggin.
Oh, and did I mention that
Senna helped make it dope?
This is everything you need to know
to get up to speed on the Acura NSX.
What, you didn’t know?
(thunder clapping)
You had (beep) better call somebody!
(eight bit music)
In the eighties,
lots of sports cars
weren’t all that sporty.
I mean, Ferrari was
making some pretty hot V8s
but they were expensive.
Founder and supreme advisor
of Honda Motor Company,
Soichiro Honda, very cool dude,
knew his company had the chops to build
something better than a
Ferrari and for less money.
So, Honda called up Italian
design house, Pininfarina,
and was like, “Hey, yeah,
so we were thinking,
“you know what we usually do.
“Yeah, front engine, front
wheel drive, yeah, yeah,
“well we want to do the exact opposite.
“Yeah, uh-huh, mid
engine, rear wheel drive.
“I know, dude, sick, hold on, hello?
“Actually I’m on the
phone with Pininfarina,
“can I give you a call back
in like two seconds, alright.
“You still there, oh no, wait, hold on.
“Pininfarina, hello?”
What they ended up with was
perhaps the most eighties car
to come out of the eighties.
A weird white door stop called the HP-X
which stood for Honda
Pininfarina experimental.
It was aerodynamic AF and
minimalist to the max,
so much so that it didn’t even have doors.
You climbed in through
it the plexiglass roof
like Maverick and Goose.
(“Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins)
And it wasn’t just another
boring display car, no way,
’cause it had a motor in it, a cool one,
a two liter V6 from
Honda’s Formula Two team.
While all this HP-X stuff was going on,
Honda started racing in F1 again
and their engineers were
getting more interested
in going fast, so they started playing
with mid-engine rear-wheel
drive test mules
made from a first gen
Honda City and a CRX.
They were also just about to launch
the luxury Acura brand in the US
and decided that giving
the badge a halo car
would give it a leg up.
The company was getting excited
about building a sports car
that bridged the gap between F1 and Civics
but it also needed to be comfortable
so that you could drive it everyday.
I mean, what good is an awesome car
if you don’t even drive it everyday.
With the Ferrari 328 set as a benchmark
and using the HP-X as inspiration,
Honda got to work on a new
project, code name NSX,
which stood for new
sports car, unknown world.
Some people say the X
stands for experimental
but Honda says it’s unknown world
where X is the mathematical
symbol for an unknown variable,
and daddy knows a thing or two
about being an unknown variable.
(Chinese kung fu music)
Anyway, this ain’t no algebra
class, put your books away.
Driver’s experience was a
main focus of development.
Honda wanted the NSX to
great 360 visibility.
They kept the cab forward
design of the HP-X
and took additional
inspiration for the greenhouse
from F16 fighter jets, F1 cars
and hydroplane racing boats,
the coolest kind of boat there is.
(water spurting)
The new Japanese sports car
also needed a bigger engine
to compete with the Europeans
’cause that two liter V6
just wasn’t gonna cut it.
The V6 from the Acura Legend
wasn’t quite there either
so Honda took VTEC from the JDM Integra
and combined it with their
Formula One race tech
to come up with (explosion roars)
a glorious sounding
all-aluminum three liter V6
putting out 270 horsepowers.
(engine revving)
The pistons were forged
in the fires of Mount Doom
and for the first time
in a production car,
the connecting rods were made of titanium.
Honda wanted the NSX to have
incredible, F1-like handling.
Oh (beep).
And modern amenities like air
conditioning, power windows,
traction control and ABS
but having all that stuff in a steel body
would make a pretty portly
car and they didn’t want that.
No judgment if you like
fat cars, do your thing,
Honda just wasn’t into it.
They were going to have to take the weight
out of the chassis somehow.
After experimenting with
high strength steels
and carbon fiber, they decided
to do it using aluminum,
a lot of aluminum.
So Honda called up their metal
suppliers and they were like,
“We want aluminum that we
can build a car out of.”
“Honda, there is no aluminum
“you could build a whole car out of.”
“Huh, weird, what are we
going to do about this,
“oh, I have an idea, how ’bout
you frigging make me some?”
“What, uh–“
“If you don’t make me
enough strong aluminum
“to build a car to beat
Ferrari, I will kill you.”
“Guys, we gotta make
aluminum that can build a car
“or Honda’s gonna kill
me, he sounded serious.”
That’s actually what happened.
So five specific aluminum
alloys were carefully chosen,
special processing
techniques were developed
and an entirely new plant
was built to produce the new
lightweight monocoque chassis.
In February of 1989,
Honda had a few nearly
production ready cars in hand
and the Acura NSX
prototype was set to debut
at the Chicago International Motor Show.
Honda was setting up for the big reveal
when the president of the
company, Tadish, Tadashi,
Tadashi Kume was like, “I
need to inspect this car,”
then he hopped in and fired
it up and his team was like,
“Stop, there’s a Ford press
conference going on next door.”
and he was all, “What?”
And they were like,
“There’s a Ford press
conference next door!”
“I’m revving the engine, I
can’t hear you, it’s too loud,”
and his team was all, “Stop!”
Meanwhile, in the Ford press
conference, Ford was like,
“And I present to you…”
“The world premiere of the new…”
“I can’t hear a single word you’re saying
“’cause this engine is too loud.”
Word spread quickly that something special
was gonna be at the Acura press conference
and by the time the
car officially debuted,
excitement was through the frigging roof.
(“Careless Whisper” by George Michael)
At the same time over in Japan,
a certain F1 driver you may
have heard of named Senna,
was testing another prototype
at the Suzuka race track.
After claiming that he
didn’t feel qualified
to give advice on tuning
a mass production car,
he told the engineers
that it felt fragile.
So Honda scrambled for eight months
to give the aluminum chassis more rigidity
and set up their first long-term
overseas testing facility
at the Nürburgring in the process.
The end result was a chassis
50% stiffer than the prototype
and 40% lighter than an equivalent chassis
made out of steel.
Further testing with Senna,
F1 racer, Satoru Nakajima,
and indie car champ, Bobby Rahal,
turned the NSX into one of the
best handling cars ever made!
(thunder clapping)
Lightening, lightening,
lightening, lightening.
The suspension was a complex
work of forged aluminum art.
Both the front and rear
featured an intricate web
of beautiful double wishbones.
Mm, getting hungry.
Up front Honda designed
a unique compliance pivot
that maintained the same toe
setting as the suspension moved
to reduce bump steer.
Even the tires got a
ridiculous amount of attention.
Yokohama tried out 10 molds,
100 different tire specs
and 6000 different tires
before they thought they got it right.
Honda was so exacting in it’s fine tuning
that the front and rear compounds
ended up being slightly different.
(engine revving and tires skidding)
The new Acura NSX was fittingly launched
to the automotive media
with laps around Laguna
Seca and the Nürburgring.
The press raved about
it’s civilized demeanor
and awesome performance in
a reliable Honda package.
Quotes, it is the best
sports car ever made.
Quote, all of our current cars
are now completely irrelevant.
That’s really impressive
for a manufacturer
known better for making
motorcycles and Civics.
(Chinese kung fu music)
In late 1990, the NSX finally
went on sale to high demand.
American dealers were
keeping cars for themselves
instead of selling ’em, and in Japan,
people were put on a three
year waiting list to buy one.
Only a year into production,
Honda invited owners to a track day
to give them driving lessons
and to pick their brains
on how to make their groundbreaking
sports car even better.
The feedback they got went into creating
the JDM only, track
oriented 1992 NSX Type-R.
(engine revving)
They stripped out the sound
insulation, the radio,
the spare tire, the AC,
the traction control.
It got Enkei wheels and the
cush leather seats were replaced
with Carbon Kevlar Recaros
or as I like to call them,
recarbon fiberos.
The NSX-R dropped 265 pounds to become
a lightweight track day machine gun.
After the first two years of production,
US sales started to drop off pretty quick.
In 1995, Honda replaced our
NSX Coupe with the NSX-T
where the T stood for
target top not turbo.
(engine revving)
Removing the roof reduced
the chassis rigidity
that the NSX was known for
so they added some more
braces to stiffen things up
which added more weight.
I was fat and had braces too.
Sales spiked briefly but
fell off again the next year.
In 1997, engineers tossed
in a bigger 3.2 liter V6
making 290 horsepower.
US sales coasted along
in cruise control selling
just about 200 cars per year.
For 1999, Acura brought back the Coupe
with the super limited
Alex Zanardi Edition NSX.
50 red cars based on the
Japanese market Type-S were built
to commemorate Zanardi’s back to back
Champ Car championship wins.
(engine revving)
In 2002, Honda committed
one of the greatest atrocities ever,
they killed off the pop-up
headlights on the NSX.
(It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye
To Yesterday by Boyz II Men)
♪ And I’ll take with me the memories ♪
♪ To be my sunshine after the rain ♪
At this point, even though
people said they loved the NSX,
not that many people were
actually buying the NSX.
It stayed pretty much
the same car for 15 years
and only about 18,000 were
sold in the entire world.
2005 was the last year of production
for the original Japanese supercar.
You know the old saying,
you don’t know what
you got till it’s gone,
well, as soon as the NSX was gone,
people wanted another one.
God, make up your minds!
Do you want me, do you not want me,
do you want me, do you not want me,
do you want me, do you not want me, dad.
Just two years later,
Honda announced a future V10
supercar was in the works.
V10, dude.
But by 2008, the economic
downturn had car manufacturers
cowering in their khakis
and the new supercar
just wasn’t really on the agenda anymore.
Luckily the car-pocalypse was short
and in 2010 there were already rumors
that another NSX successor was coming.
The V10 idea was dead just like my dad
and now it would be a more
environmentally-friendly hybrid,
say what?
Hybrids were not cool cars in 2010.
But after years and years
and years of teasing
in Marvel movies and Superbowl ads
featuring my best friend, Jay Leno,
(Jay laughs)
an impressive new second generation NSX
rolled out of an Ohio factory in 2016.
The new NSX is all-wheel drive
with a mid-mounted twin-turbo 3.5 liter V6
and three electric motors
putting out a supercar
worthy 573 horsepower.
(engine revving)
Lead designer, Michelle
Christensen, calls it,
“An American muscle car in an
Italian exotic car’s body,”
and it bares absolutely zero resemblance
to the original NSX.
Like before it offers
Ferrari-level performance
at a lower price
and it won Road & Track’s 2017
Performance Car of the Year,
but it’s
(Chinese kung fu music)
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100 Replies to “Acura NSX – Everything You Need To Know | Up to Speed”

  1. What a beautiful design, Timeless!

    The new NSX looks like an Audi R8 clone! Mr Honda must be turning in his grave!

  2. Always loved the NSX for it's engineering, reliability and practicality however the whole point of owning a super car is it should be difficult to live with on a daily basis and want to kill you. Those are the bastard cars you remember with fondness the most. Like a 930 turbo on a wet greasy road. As soon as the the turbo lag passes, you find yourself in a ditch pointing the opposite direction asking what the hell just happened.

  3. This guy is very informative and entertaining without the need to be a pompous a-wad. I happen to enjoy his personality over Matt Farrah.

  4. I think the current NSX is one of the best looking mid engine cars out there. Best looking designer too 😁

  5. My absolute favorite car to come out of Japan. Next to the Mazda RX-7 and Subaru Impreza WRX. The old one was good, and the new one is just as good as the original but with more guts.

  6. I love this guy….Senna loves him too… Honda McLaren for life. Who's the best. McLaren chassis coupled to Honda power.Thats who… And who wouldn't like a little dash of senna on top to make it all go round…and round..mmmmmm.. I'm going to go drive my 04 6 speed TL cuz I got way too much energy right now. Yes she's a handful..

  7. Everyone says the new nsx is not good but I think its really good I've seen a few old ones and new ones and I like both

  8. Fucking weirdo mother… but man you can’t deny the solid content. Now I know why he acts so goofy. You got it pal you got it pal!

  9. You forgot to mention that the original NSX was available with a 5 speed manual, then later a 6 speed manual. The new NSX does not have a manual option.

  10. Ok I see now you only get excited about Honda. Everything else you seem a little less excited to talk about.

  11. Like he said, people in the 90s didn’t know how good they had it ‘til it was gone after 2005. Watch it turn out to be the same thing with the second gen NSX

  12. Its not about speed and hp its about just the style of that car on the past beat any car from those days… Even lancia delta intergrale its more beautiful than this fancy curve cars… Designers are appealing to much to consume and aerodynamics

  13. I feel like Toyota went to Honda and said where gonna take your v10 and there ain’t shit your gonna do about it.

  14. American muscle with an italian body? Excuse me what snobbery is this?

    Too expensive for what it does.
    Too slow for it's price (that time's Nissan GT-R runs circles around it.)
    And most probably poor tuned or not well enough researched like the old legend NSX.

    Even with all these downsides, it is a good car. And it might have a very good faith. As not so many people will buy it, it's value should go up over the years.

  15. The new 2nd Gen NSX is so cool, that I bought a Corvette with a MANUAL TRANSMISSION instead. And kept my original NSX with it's manual transmission. Honda, you blew it. Love my Corvette.

  16. 13:19, please remind me the last time an American muscle car came with less than 8 cylinders and/or electric motors. There's nothing "American muscle" about that thing. It doesn't really look Italian either for that matter. Why not just call it what it is, a fast Japanese car?

  17. Guy had me laughing occasionally, and informative with his topic.👍
    He remind me of Jack Black.,
    Without his $$$ bank account.
    Love the vid.

  18. Tenured Honda Technician Here. So Why did the NSX Video End Sooo Abruptly? Why wasn’t any of the CRAZY Electric Motor Technology for the New NSX discussed? It’s probably the most Bad-Ass Hybrid that is Available today! Can James continue this episode another 2-3 minutes to discuss the Technology and Stats of the Vehicle?

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